Port of Spain city officials sent on leave

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

PSA president Leroy Baptiste – SUREASH CHOLAI

Port of Spain City Corporation CEO Annette Stapleton-Seaforth and another senior manager, in the transport division, have been sent on indefinite administrative leave, in the wake of allegations of wrongdoing,

President of the Public Services Association (PSA) Leroy Baptiste confirmed that the leave came into effect on Thursday.

City mayor Chinua Alleyne said he was unable to comment on the issue at the moment and would be better poised to say something next week. He did not commit to a particular day next week.

Baptiste told the Newsday he understood the two were called into the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government (RDLG) and handed letters relating to their leave.

He said the transport division employee, who is a member of his union, did not accept the letter, so he is unaware of the reason or reasons for the move.

He said the member had sought representation from the union, but he was not certain whether the CEO was also included in the bargaining unit the PSA represents at the corporation, as she was yet to contact him.

In a phone interview, Baptiste who was attending to union matters in Tobago, said: “I am confirming that there is an issue where members of our bargaining unit would have been interdicted from duty with full pay.

“It is our understanding that it has to do with some allegations of misbehavior in public office and misconduct as it relates to a procurement matter.

“We will be meeting with our members and treating with the issues.”

Baptiste stressed that the term “interdicted” simply meant removing the employees from the environment so an unhindered investigation could take place.

“I also want to stress that it is only an allegation. We have not seen the particulars, so we should be careful not to become judgmental. Allegations come and allegations go. They have been interdicted and an investigation will be carried out, so there is no guilt perception there at all.”

Stapleton-Seaforth, who has a few more months at the corporation before she retires, is no stranger to controversy. Earlier this year she had run-ins with East Port of Spain contractors over non-payment for garbage collection.

She has also survived calls for her “to go” by the Amalgamated Workers Union, over a claimed lack of provision of proper tools for daily-paid workers whom the union represents.